My Prague Job: Solenn Grand's heavenly harp can be heard at Prague's premiere opera house

The French native is the principal harpist for the State Opera, a position that is extraordinarily difficult to come by

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 22.10.2020 12:00 (updated on 22.10.2020)

When did you come to Prague and why did chose to relocate here?

I am French, originally from Aix en Provence. But I've lived abroad for 10 years, studying in Frankfurt from 2010 to 2014, then in London for my master's degree in 2015, then I went to Brazil in 2016. My first job was playing with the Brazilian Symphonic Orchestra but I quit and came back to London and worked freelance until 2018, then moved to Hof in Bavaria, where I worked with the Hofer Symphoniker, before moving to Prague in 2019.

What is your current occupation and job title?

I I am principal harpist in the orchestra of Prague State Opera. It was my dream to have a fixed position in an orchestra, so I was doing auditions everywhere in Europe (there aren't so many harp positions available, on average 1 or 2 a year in the whole of Europe, some years none at all). I was so lucky to win an audition with the State Opera.

What is your passion outside the workplace?

I love teaching, I also do recording sessions, and play for all kinds of events from weddings to corporate events.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 47m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 47m2

Věšínova, Praha 10 - Strašnice

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 100m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 100m2

V Zeleném údolí, Praha 4 - Kunratice

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 69m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 69m2

Truhlářská, Praha 1 - Nové Město

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 44m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 44m2

Dienzenhoferovy sady, Praha 5 - Smíchov

How did you find your job?

New positions are advertised on special websites for orchestras, like Musicalchairs or Muvac.

What was the application process and interview like?

Like any orchestral auditions, there is a présélection on cv, then an audition. First round is blind. There aren't any interview, it's all about playing.

What are your career goals at the moment?

I am aim to develop different projects outside of the opera. Solo concerts, chamber music but most of all, teaching. I teach one to one, children and adults, beginners to advanced.

Which languages do you use at work?

Official language is Czech (there are only 3 of us foreigners in the orchestra) but we often have guests conductors coming from Italy, England, and Germany, and they rehearse either in English or German.

What do you love most about your job?

Probably the environment is one of the best things, it is such a pleasure to go everyday to the stunning opera (which was enterily reconstructed in the past three years). My colleagues have been always very welcoming and supportive, and playing along with them is a great joy.

What are the biggest career challenges you have faced in the Czech Republic?

I need to learn Czech properly, as I am planning to stay here long term, that's a challenge!

To learn more about Solenn's career and her Bubeneč harp studio, visit www.solenngrand.com.

Do you have an interesting job in Prague or the Czech Republic? Get in touch.